American Psychological Association Publication Manual, 7th Edition

Many of you will have noticed the recent publication of the 7th edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual (American Psychological Association, 2019).

Some of the changes should be welcomed.

Referencing

For example, in referencing:

The publisher location is no longer included in the list of reference.

Where the 6th edition (American Psychological Association, 2010), required this:

Gillett, A. J., Hammond, A. C. & Martala, M. (2009). Successful academic writing. Harlow: Longman.

the 7th edition requires:

Gillett, A. J., Hammond, A. C. & Martala, M. (2009). Successful academic writing. Longman.

I think that is good. Although, there was probably a time when a book published in, for example, New York was different from the same book published in London, this has not been the case for many years. I wonder when other versions of the Harvard system will catch up.

Another welcome change is the standardisation of the URL or doi references. URLs are now embedded directly in the reference, without being preceded by “Retrieved from,” unless a retrieval date is needed.

For example previously, a blog entry would have been included in the references list as

Gillett, A. J.  (2017, February 23). EAP and student motivation [Blog post]. Retrieved October, 14, 2019, from http://www.uefap.net/blog/?p=176

Whereas, unless the site is likely to change, the following should – I think – be used now:

Gillett, A. J. (2017, February 23). EAP and student motivation. UEfAP. http://www.uefap.net/blog/?p=176

DOIs are now formatted as urls (https://doi.org/xxx). The label “DOI:” is no longer necessary.

Previously

Gillett, A. J. & Hammond,  A. C. (2009). Mapping the maze of assessment: An investigation into practice.  Active Learning in Higher Education, 10, 120-137. DOI: 10.1177/1469787409104786

Now

Gillett, A. J. & Hammond, A. C. (2009). Mapping the maze of assessment: An investigation into practice. Active Learning in Higher Education, 10(2), 120-137 https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787409104786

(Note that the issue number is now always given.)

Another possibly useful change concerns the citation of multi-author works.
Previously, when a work had three, four, or five authors, all the authors were cited the first time the citation occurred; in subsequent citations, only the surname of the first author, followed by ‘et al.’ (not italicised, and with a full stop after ‘al’), was included.

Whereas now, when a work has three or more authors, the name of only the first author followed by ‘et al.’ (not italicised, and with a full stop after ‘al’), is cited always.

Another change I like is the explicit instruction not to provide database or other online archive information is a reference, unless absolutely necessary. The reference should provide enough information for a reader to find the work, possibly by a different method. In addition, such URLs will normally require a login and will therefor not be accessible to most readers.

For example, the following is not acceptable:
https://uhvpn.herts.ac.uk/,DanaInfo=www.emeraldinsight.com+journals.htm?issn=0263-080X&volume=20&issue=5&articleid=1477391&show=html

Style

From a stylistic point of view, the singular “they” or “their” is now accepted as a gender-neutral pronoun.

References

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

Cognitive Overload

I have recently received a large amount of work from my students of international business that is very messy, very badly organised – pages in the wrong order, tables not fitting on the page, even pages upside down and at 90 degrees. I have been wondering why. Most of the students I am thinking of were second or third language speakers of English and there seemed to be an inverse correlation between English language competence and quality of presentation of work, but I do not think it is direct. It has reminded me of several other experiences I have had and I wonder if there is a connection. Continue reading

ESP and Common Sense

I remember a number of years ago, after a morning of evaluating student oral presentations with a colleague and wondering why they sometimes said strange things, I mentioned that it seemed to me that people lost their common sense when they were speaking a language they were not very confident in. My colleague – who was a good linguist and had never experiences such issues – disagreed. Continue reading

Failure to write

A group of students wrote something for me at the beginning of the semester. They were scientists and their lecturer wanted to see how well they could write so if they needed to develop their writing, we could start early in the year and not wait until they had submitted their first assessed assignments. Much of the writing was not very good and the lecturer was determined to arrange writing classes as soon as possible. I decided I’d try to talk to the students before we made decisions to see what I could find out about their experiences of writing. Continue reading

What is a blog?

I was recently asked to work with a group of students on blogging. The students had been asked to write a weekly assessed blog of between 500 and 700 words and were having difficulty.

As I thought about it, I realised that I did not have enough information about what the students were expected to do, and neither – I think – did the students. Continue reading

How to write – What to write.

I’ve often quoted Frank Smith when discussing writing.  In Writing and the writer, Smith distinguishes between “composition” and “transcription” in writing. “Composition” is deciding what you want to say, and “transcription” is what you have to do to say it. His advice is “The rule is simple: Composition and transcription must be separated, and transcription must come last. It is asking too much of anyone, and especially of students trying to improve all aspects of their writing ability, to expect that they can concern themselves with polished transcription at the same time that they are trying to compose. The effort to concentrate on spelling, handwriting, and punctuation at the same time that one is struggling with ideas and their expression not only interferes with composition but creates the least favorable situation in which to develop transcription skills as well” (Smith, 1982, p. 24).

After watching Juzo Itami’s 1995 film Shizukana seikatsu (A quiet life) recently I decided to read  Nobel prize winner Kenzaburu Oe – on whose novel the film is based. In his novel The Changeling, he deals with a similar situation: Continue reading

Where Next for EAP?

There has been much discussion recently about what exactly students have to do in order to succeed in HE. Gillett & Hammond (2009), for example, identified a range of tasks that need to be managed in order to succeed and Nesi & Gardner (2012) looked in great detail  at the genres which students need to work with. This has been a very useful contribution to the development of EAP.  However, Feak (2011) identifies the difficulties that some students might have with these genres in multidisciplinary degrees and courses.  Furthermore, my  recent experience working with students from one discipline, business students, has shown that many of the assignments that the students have to produce are much more complicated and not so easily classified.  I’d like to show some examples of these and ask how we can best help our insessional students to deal with them.

Continue reading

Feedback – Who is it for?

I was visiting a colleague’s office recently and he showed me a piece of student work from another university where he was an external examiner. The piece of work was covered with red ticks, crosses, under-linings, crossings out and illegible comments. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that this feedback – if that’s what it was – was not very useful and that it was something that he – as an external examiner – should comment on. As I was leaving the office, I suddenly thought of something and went back to look at the text again. As I thought, the text was on formal examination paper and it was clear that the writing we had been looking at was an examination answer, something that the students would (might) never see again. It made me realise that comment/feedback on student writing – as with all writing – depends on purpose and audience, something that does not seem to have been discussed elsewhere. Continue reading